Buying Foreclosures: Deal or No Deal?

By: R. L. Fielding

Buyers and would-be investors often look to foreclosure sales to find real estate bargains. But newcomers to this market could find some unpleasant surprises if they go in blind. To get the best deal when buying foreclosures, all homes should be thoroughly inspected by a professional home inspector before sealing the deal.

Why inspect if you can't negotiate?

Foreclosure homes are usually 'as-is' sales. This means that buyers cannot negotiate for the cost of needed repairs, as they may do in a traditional home purchase. Buyers must absorb repair costs themselves and consider this in their purchase offer at auction. So why get a professional home inspection on a foreclosure property?

Too many foreclosure buyers think they're getting a deal when, in fact, they might be purchasing a property with substantial and costly defects. The repair of these major issues could exceed the savings gained in buying a foreclosed property.

Sellers at foreclosure auctions are not usually obligated to disclose defects. But buyers can empower themselves by getting a professional property inspection before the auction that will provide valuable insights about the condition of the home.

A professional home inspector will review the major, visible and accessible components of the home and provide a detailed written report rating each element. The report should objectively include information in a detailed manner that allows the client to make informed decisions. If pre-auction property inspections are not permitted at the foreclosure sale, buyers will need to weigh that risk carefully.

Knowledge is Power

Even with a significant influx of newly foreclosed properties due to the sub prime mortgage mess, the foreclosure market can be competitive, and it is often dominated by experienced real estate investors. More than ever, buyers need to know what they are buying to reduce the possibility of making a very costly mistake. Armed with the right information you can make informed bids and find the best home at the best deal. After all, a bargain isn't a bargain if it costs more than expected down the line.

Remember, buying foreclosed properties can be a risky business, so be certain to consult with needed professionals, including a reputable, certified home inspector, to address questions about specific issues. As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

About HouseMaster

HouseMaster is the oldest and most respected home inspection franchise system in North America. Founded in the late-1970s, HouseMaster has grown to over 350 local offices whose inspectors have collectively performed nearly 2-million home inspections. Home buyers, home sellers and real estate professionals rely on HouseMaster's NIBI® trained inspectors for truly objective insight into the condition of any property. For more information, visit http://www.housemaster.com.

Foreclosures
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